Miracle of the Fishes
The Miracle of the Fishes, detail, 1978, at Paseo de San Antonio fountain in conjunction with "The San Jose Exhibit," San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA

"I grew up in a devout Catholic home and was named after St. Anthony of Padua. As a child, a picture of Anthony delivering the sermon to the fish made a deep impression on me. When the challenge of creating a public art work for the fountain at the Paseo de San Antonio in San Jose presented itself, the legendary miracle immediately occurred to me. Rather than a conventional statue of the saint I thought it would be more interesting to create a large number of fish, floating with their heads out of the water, just as in the legend. The piece could be thought of as evoking the presence of the saint without literal depiction. It did pose a fairly complex technical problem, i.e. getting twenty-eight individual cast ceramic fish to each float at a precise angle. It was also problematical in another way. Installed for a month in an unsecured public location, the small sculpted fish were very vulnerable to both theft and vandalism. Almost miraculously all 28 survived with only minor damage though some of the imperfectly sealed hollow-bodied fish lost buoyancy and were swimming underwater by the end of the show."
– Tony May